For 13 drama-filled years, Kyle Richards has been a voice of reason on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Somehow, even as her castmates became embroiled in “The Dinner Party From Hell,” the return of the bunny at the Season 7 reunion, and Puppygate, Richards remained not only innocent, but likable.
In fact, Richards’ level-headedness, combined with her ability to laugh at all of RHOBH’s absurdity, has earned her a place in the figurative Real Housewives Hall of Fame. Rumor has it that she’s Andy Cohen’s fave, and she’s even been canonized in the most iconic way possible: as a meme. (The meme, in which she and a castmate appear to tearfully berate a cat, is an internet mainstay — Richards has even heard someone ask, “Is that the girl from the cat meme?”)
But even the best-loved Housewives can’t stay entirely above the fray. RHOBH revealed deep-rooted issues between Richards and her sisters, Kathy Hilton and Kim Richards, each of whom has enjoyed a stint on the show. Safe to say, there were plenty of fights and tears.
“You know when they do a split screen with your sister, it’s not good,” Richards tells Bustle. “The two most difficult reunions were Season 5 with my sister Kim and Season 12 with my sister Kathy. They were really emotional.”
Viewers also got to witness Richards break up with her former BFF, Lisa Vanderpump (starkly punctuated with a “Goodbye, Kyle” from Vanderpump’s husband). And soon, fans may see her deal with those cheating rumors, as well as her reported separation from husband Mauricio Umansky — an event that prompted cameras to start rolling again in July, after production had wrapped a week earlier.
In the meantime, Season 13 of RHOBH is off to a juicy start, and Richards has over a decade of Housewives experiences to reflect on. Below, she talks hot mic moments, her beauty secrets, and the Housewives song she listens to the most.
You’ve always had the best hair on TV. How have you kept it so long and luscious?
I always make my hair care a priority, like my skin. In the last few years, I’ve started lightening it, and I did damage it for the first time in my life, which was so annoying. That’s why I was excited to partner with Nexxus — because I had to work on reversing damage.
Also, when you’re stressed, you lose hair, and that started to happen to me for the first time. Because there was always such a focus on my hair, I panicked. If someone tells you, you have these gorgeous blue eyes your whole life and all of a sudden they turn a different color, you’re like, “Wait, what’s happening? What am I going to do?”
What other hair care products do you use besides shampoo and conditioner?
I use the [Nexxus Unbreakable Care] Root Lift Thickening Spray because I like more of a full, ’90s sort of wavy, sexy look, and this helps make my hair look fuller.
As far as skin, what are your thoughts on injectables?
Well, Botox is great. When I first started the show, no one talked about it like [they do now]. I remember my husband didn’t even know I had done Botox. Andy Cohen asked me — and I am someone if you ask me something, I can’t lie — so I answered, and then I realized I had to tell my husband that I do Botox. He was like, “What? That’s private.” It was a whole big drama.
I’m not a fan of filler in the face. I have a very square jaw and a fuller face, so I don’t feel like I need it. For some people, it’s probably great. I just think people get really carried away with it.
What was something that surprised you early on about filming the show?
If we went into the bathroom or shut the door, I thought that was it — I didn’t know that they would [angle] the camera on the door, and then listen to us inside. That happened to us in Season 1 on the “Dinner Party From Hell.” It was new for me.
What do you think was the most staged storyline?
I can only think of one, and that was the dog story with Lucy whatever it was. Our show isn’t staged or set up, but I think that was brought to the table with the intention for there to be another [spinoff].
Which Housewives song do you listen to the most?
Oh, “It’s Expensive to Be Me,” by Erika. Her music is fun. Every time it comes on, I can’t help but sing along to it. But when I was doing the Ultimate Girls Trip, I also couldn’t stop singing Luann [de Lesseps’] song “Money Can’t Buy You Class.”
What do you remember about your Bravo casting tape?
It was so embarrassing. I sound like the biggest nerd ever. My executive producer, who I’m good friends with, loves to make fun [of it].
They asked, “What is something that would surprise us about you?” and I said, “I read the newspaper from front to back every day.” When I hear that, I’m so embarrassed.
What’s your favorite part about filming?
I like when we do the girls’ trips. I know that there’s always drama and there’s always something that inevitably happens, but I got married at 18 years old and I had a baby at 19 — I didn’t do girls’ trips, and I didn’t get to do a lot of normal things growing up as a child actor.
[Every time] I’m very naïve, thinking, “Maybe this time we’re just going to have fun.” But we’re sneaking off into each other’s rooms and laughing, climbing in each other’s beds and recapping the whole night, and waking up in the morning in pajamas, having coffee. That’s fun for me.
So, what was your favorite trip?
It’s easier for me to think of a least favorite: Amsterdam. Just because of what happened, but it was a beautiful place to visit. It was just a disastrous trip. I think everybody quit that night. The producers were freaking out — we were like, “We’re all done now.”
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.